Editor’s note: Some of the event information in the original story was incorrect. The information has been corrected in this version.
Live Violence Free is recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a host of activities designed to raise awareness of the issue.
The organization, a nonprofit organization in South Lake Tahoe that works with survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and other inflictions, will host workshops 5 p.m. every Monday throughout October at the center with community workshops and activities. Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is the theme for this year’s awareness month. Such activities include making Day of the Dead streamers and making other festive decorations for the center.
LVF outreach educator Diana Meza Cabrera said the organization collaborates with community factions to educate as many people as possible about domestic violence issues.
“We focus a lot on intervention work and also prevention work at the schools,” Cabrera said.
The organization recently hosted a fall festival and fundraiser, which included a bonfire and a slew of activities as part of the month.
“We try to do awareness events for the month, just to spread the word of the effects of domestic violence and how it impacts individuals’ lives,” Cabrera said. “A lot of people don’t realize that it happens here (in South Lake Tahoe), but it’s across the board.”
The nonprofit has a prevention educator who works with students from kindergarten to middle schools, covering topics from “stranger danger” to sexual harassment, Cabrera said. In high schools, students can take a class that deals with a broader range of issues, such as more sexual harassment and rape.
“We teach our clients about the different tactics aggressors use to control them in a relationship,” she said. “We really let them reflect on the relationship. We validate them, and we tell them we’re grateful that they’re here. To come through our doors or to call our crisis line is already an achievement for them.”
There is no specific advice or direction given during the process of working with a survivor of domestic violence, Cabrera said. The members of LVF assess the issues and situations that person faces and presents options for the victim so he or she can make their own decisions.
“There’s so much more than power (and) control that goes into it,” Cabrera said, adding it sometimes can take a lot of self-motivation and courage to overcome that control before someone seeks help. “There could have been years of manipulation, also past experiences.”
The organization no longer works with batterers who seek or are court-appointed to receive assistance or counseling. Last month, the center lost too much funding for battery intervention programs, but the organization would bring back the program if funding sources regenerated, LVF client services manager Claudia Manzano said.
Later in the month, LVF will host a drag show, “Drag for Love,” to branch out to the lesbian, gay and transgender communities.
The drag show will serve as a fundraiser held in conjunction with South Tahoe High School and Lake Tahoe Community College ALLY Club organizations.
“We’re really trying to bridge that gap because they have that fear of coming into institutions because they are stigmatized against,” Cabrera said.
Proceeds will benefit the LVF volunteer program and the organizations. The volunteer program has been growing, Cabrera said, and it now has 23 members.
There also will be a candlelight vigil Nov. 1 in honor of those who died as a result of domestic violence.